tv PBS News Hour PBS April 20, 2015 3:00pm-4:01pm PDT
captioning sponsored by newshour productions, llc >> ifill: a massacre at sea, hundreds of migrants drown crossing the mediterranean, fleeing africa to europe. good evening, i'm gwen ifill. >> woodruff: and i'm judy woodruff. also ahead this monday: waiting for food. a hunger crisis in the world's worst conflict zones. the u.n. struggles to meet demand in south sudan. >> first and foremost, it's the women the children. they're now in desperate need of food assistance between now and the end of the year. >> ifill: then, slow recovery.
the lingering effects of the b.p. spill five years after the blast that sent oil pouring into the gulf for months. >> woodruff: plus... >> i decided i would update dante and make it more universal. >> woodruff: the promises of paradise, the depths of hell and the purgatory in between. visual translations of dante's "divine comedy." >> it was really looking at how people wear masks in order to get ahead in life. you know and everything is concealed, you know and a lot of the messages that i put in here. it's really a conversation about spite and how i feel that that >> ifill: those are some of the stories we're covering on tonight's pbs newshour. >> major funding for the pbs newshour has been provided by: ♪ ♪ ♪
moving our economy for 160 years. bnsf, the engine that connects us. >> lincoln financial-- committed to helping you take charge of your life and become you're own chief life officer. >> and the william and flora hewlett foundation, helping people build immeasurably better lives. >> and with the ongoing support of these institutions and... >> this program was made possible by the corporation for public broadcasting. and by contributions to your pbs station from viewers like you. thank you. >> woodruff: the european union came under intense pressure today to address the migrant crisis in the mediterranean. estimates of the dead ranged
from 700 to more than 900 in a single sinking over the weekend. e.u. leaders now plan an emergency summit on thursday. we'll have a full report, after the news summary. >> ifill: six minnesota men will face trial for allegedly trying to join the islamic state group. they were arrested yesterday on terror charges in minneapolis and san diego. in st. paul today, the u.s. attorney for minnesota, andrew luger, said the six were of somali backgrounds, and had been conspiring for 10 months. >> nothing stopped these defendants from pursuing their goal. they never stopped plotting another way to get to syria to join isil. they were not confused young men, they were not easily influenced. these are focused men, who are intent on joining a terrorist organization, by any means possible. >> ifill: federal prosecutors say the islamic state group began recruiting in the somali community in minnesota in 2013.
>> woodruff: the u.s. navy stepped up efforts today to block iran from sending weapons to shiite rebels in yemen. the aircraft carrier "theodore roosevelt" moved to join other american warships off the yemeni coast. the u.s. effort could involve boarding iranian vessels. tehran has denied aiding the rebels, but white house spokesman josh earnest argued otherwise. >> we have seen evidence that the iranians are supplying weapons and other forms of support to the houthis in yemen. that's the kind of support that will only contribute to greater violence in that country-- a country that's already been wracked by too much violence. >> woodruff: the u.s. naval move came as the biggest air strikes yet by saudi arabia and its allies shook sanaa, yemen's capital city. local reports said at least 25 people were killed, and nearly 400 wounded. the attacks touched off huge explosions at a missile base, held by the shiite rebels.
shock waves from the blast flattened homes and shattered windows. >> ifill: meanwhile, across the gulf of aden, a bomb destroyed a united nations van in somalia, killing seven people, including four workers with the u.n. children's agency. al-shabab militants claimed responsibility. police said they planted the bomb under one of the van's seats and triggered it by remote control. >> woodruff: iran has charged the "washington post's" tehran bureau chief with espionage and three other crimes. jason rezaian holds dual iranian-american citizenship. he's been held nine months. his lawyer confirmed the charges against him today. they also include "collaboration with hostile governments" and anti-iranian propaganda. >> ifill: the u.s. and the philippines launched their largest joint military exercises in 15 years today. the annual war games came amid concern over china's aggressive moves to build bases in the disputed south china sea.
more than 11,500 american and filipino military personnel are taking part. >> woodruff: back in this country, baltimore officials faced a storm of questions over the death of a black suspect whose spine was nearly severed in police custody. 25-year-old freddie gray was arrested april 12th, for carrying a switchblade. he died yesterday. it's still not clear how gray was hurt, but the mayor promised a thorough investigation. >> i'm frustrated we're here and we don't have all the answers.
>> >> woodruff: also today, a white, former police officer in suburban detroit was charged with assault in a january incident. last month, a video surfaced that showed him repeatedly punching a black man during a traffic stop. >> ifill: the 119th boston marathon was run today amid heavy security, two years after a fatal bombing at the finish line. the winner that year, lelisa desisa of ethiopia, won again today. the winner on the women's side was caroline rotich of kenya. >> woodruff: the 2015 pulitzer prizes are out, and the "post and courier" newspaper of charleston, south carolina, has won the public service award for a series on domestic violence. other winners include: "the new york times" for coverage of the ebola crisis, "the st. louis post-dispatch" for photographs of the riots in ferguson, missouri, and "the washington post" for revelations about security lapses by the secret service. in the arts, anthony doerr's world war two novel "all the light we cannot see" won the prize for fiction. >> ifill: and, wall street had a big monday, thanks to strong
corporate earnings. the dow jones industrial average gained more than 200 points to close back above 18,000. the nasdaq rose 63 points, and the s&p added 19. >> woodruff: still to come on the newshour: migrants risk all to cross the mediterranean sea. combating hunger in the world's worst conflict zones. the 2016 race and the week ahead in politics. five years after the b.p. oil spill, the lasting damage to the gulf's economy and environment. a historic conviction of a c.i.a. contractor for his actions in the war on terror. and, paradise, purgatory and hell interpreted by african artists. >> ifill: europe's attention was fixed today on images of desperate refugees dying on rickety boats. a jam-packed vessel out of libya
went down sunday, taking nearly all of its human cargo to the bottom of the sea. we have two reports from independent television news, beginning with matt fry, in catania, italy. this is the worst shipping disaster to date, the worst so far for mediterranean migration. the survivors are outnumbered by the body bags and the body bags are outnumbered by the hundreds whose bodies will never be recovered from the bottom of the sea. the ghostly knock term images of the actual rescue show the italian coast guard looking for more survivors in vain. as many as 900 may have drowned here and that means more souls have been lost in seven days in the calm waters of the med than when the titanic sank. (shouting) >> in the greek corner of the
mediterranean, this was today, when syrian and south african ref gist boat disintegrated a few hundred meters after shoamplet here only a few drowned and you can sense the panic of the others, as they can't swim. this is just one small desperate episode in an historic drama. neither greece nor italy like that the shores have been worrying and libya is in a state of civil war. when the ship went down off the island of lampedusa in 2013 almost 400 people drowned. the mass rescue operation ended up saving 130,000 lives last year. in the end, the european union
decided to replace that mission with a much smaller rescue mission. the policy was if we show the migrants that we don't rush to their rescue, they won't rush to the boat, but it didn't work. they keep coming in ever greater numbers. >> ifill: so far this year, at least 1,500 migrants have died trying to make the crossing. that's 15 times more than the total for all of last year. itn's rageh omaar picks up the story in luxembourg, where european foreign ministers met today. >> it's the fatal plight of would-be migrants of these syrians fleeing civil war that jolted the e.u. to take action. member governments were presented with a ten-point plan today aimed at doubling financing and the number of ships to help overcrowd vessels athlike these. >> as we look at the tragic
events everybody is concerned about the horrific loss of life we've seen in the med train reason, but what was clear today and agreed is there's no quick fix on this issue. >> it's a reflection of the rising political concern within europe of the scale of deaths of migrants in the mediterranean. what should have been routine talks in luxembourg have turned into a crisis conference to address the issue. the question now is how to get the 28 member countries to act as one especially when tissue of migration is such a polerrizing and heated domestic political issue for european governments. >> ifill: and joining me now for more on the deadly journeys that thousands are taking, and the european community's response is daryl grisgraber, senior advocate at refugees international for the middle east and africa. two questions here, why do the migrants come and what do you do about them once they get on their way? the first part why are they coming.
>> a number of reasons. within the country of origin, there is conflict, poverty, persecution. so in africa and particularly in the middle east, you will find people fleeing these particular issues. many end up on the west coast of africa and migrate by sea when land routes are not available to them. >> ifill: why don't we talk about who these people are. they're not libyans necessarily and they're not from any one place. >> no, not at all. we have seen syrians from lib bia people from africa fleeing human rights violations and people from sub saharan africa. people are come anywhere they can find a migration route and often they ent up on the west coast of africa, they get ton the boats. >> ifill: we are see ago stunning increase in numbers because of the weather? because of what? >> well, the weather is the
sailing season right now so the weather is calmer, the waters are slightly easier to deal with. but i think we're look at what's happening in the countries that people are fleeing from. human rights violations are a daily occurrence for many people in many places and, again in this part of the world. conflict in syria for example is driving people out and there are libyans joining. libya is in chaos right now. so people are coming from all over but are all fleeing situations that are making them desperate. >> ifill: what about the ones who don't drown on route where do they end up? >> it depends. many end up in detention and there are definitely efforts by european countries to send them back. a lot of them have dreams of moving on further to join family members often in scandinavia or western europe. a lot are not getting there and many languish in transit centers along the coastal european countries because they're not allowed in.
>> ifill: let's talk about the second hard part as you identified, what do you do about it. today we saw the meeting among the european union countries in which they're beginning to make a common cause? >> yes, there's a move toward that and i think it's a question of how quickly it can be done and how thorough the response can be. the common cause, unfortunately, might not focus as much on humanitarian and life saving activities as it does on the turns at the border and creating a secure area. >> ifill: i was going to ask you to expand on that a little. when you say deterrence, we talk about building fences. what are they talking about? >> the same thing. not building a fence but not making people think if they get on a boat and it sinks that they will be rescued biff someone in those european countries, for example. rescue efforts were very much at
a heart of what was going on in the mediterranean for much of last year and 2013. it's not as comprehensive agree graphically now and doesn't have the same amount of funding. it's more about deterrence and keeping people away from the borders, trying not to have people arriving in the first place. >> ifill: trying to stop freedom getting on or office the boats? >> from getting off the boats mostly. it would be to create situations where people don't feel make like, they need to get on the boats. >> ifill: more complicated. yes. >> ifill: thank you. co. online, an organization working >> woodruff: the nation of south sudan is barely four years old, and for much of that time, the fledgling country has been at war with itself-- a conflict that's displaced more than two million south sudanese in just the last 16 months. it's estimated that 50,000 people have died in the fighting among the living, more than
2.5 million need food assistance, that number could be four million by year's end. earthrin cousin is executive director of the world food program, the u.n. agency that is charged with helping the south sudanese in need. the w.f.p. is also facing four other major crises elsewhere in africa and in the middle east. earthrin cousin was just in south sudan late last month, and she joins me here tonight. good to have you on the program again. >> yes, thank you. >> woodruff: so you were just there weeks ago and you were sayingeth gotten worse since then. >> yes, it has gotten worse. when i went to visit an island surrounded by swamp larntiond i had an opportunity to talk to women. one mother told me she walked for weeks and months to reach a place where there was safety and food. the only thing she could do was feed her children water lilies
till she could get to a place to provide them with food. she came from the northern part and the northern part has gotten worse. two counties in the region, we have been forced to suspend activities because three of our staff were kidnapped in the last ten days. >> woodruff: what can the world food programme do in a situation like that where the fighting, the civil war elements are just getting more complicated? >> well, what it requires is we are agile with the other members of the countries, we go in, provide assistance and move out. but the challenge is when we can't go in at all and that's where we're finding now as the conflict becomes ever more difficult and we're breaking down into more private conflicts with militias where there's very
little command or control as you would think about in a traditional conflict situation. it's more about local fighting parties. so it's very difficult for us to have anyone even to talk to as three have been kidnapped. >> woodruff: what is it the world food programme and other agencies like yours need at a time like this? >> we need first and foremost not to forget the victims, the women and children who need our assistance. we are $250 million from what we need to provide what is required for the 2.5 million people we know are now in desperate need of food assistance between now and the ent of the year. particularly nutritional assistance for children. and we also need to ensure that the entire global community not just the agencies, let their voices be known that humanitarians must be provided with the access that is
necessary to provide assistance. finally, what we need to particularly do in south sudan is we're looking to expand our school feeding program because we want to ensure that particularly boys, and we're taking 160,000 additional children for school feeding so those boys can hander see a different way out, a different narrative than the ones their fathers saw who for decades fought for their own freedom and now those same boys are seeing conflict seems to be the only answer. keeping them in school will provide a different outcome. >> woodruff: the world food programme has frequently put out the word that it needs more money. your shop, your office has done that. what's the response to that and who is it who is falling back in their ledges to -- their pledges to the world food programme? >> the world food programme is 100% voluntarily funded and the majority of that is being provided by government and
governments like the united states are extremely generous in providing us with assistance. the challenge is that because uh you have syria iraq, south sudan, yemen, the needs are so large that it requires that we broaden the number of donors who are supporting our organizations and seek additional support particularly from private sector individuals. >> you mentioned syria and iraq. let me quickly ask you syria this is a war that has gone on, a civil war for years. so many displaced syrians are inside and outside the country. how is the world food programme getting help to them? >> we are providing support inside to approximately 4.2 million people on an every-month basis and we're providing support in both the opposition areas as well as the government-held areas. but these besieged areas are where we're challenged in reaching the parties. outside syria, we continue to
put about 1.7 million people. but unfortunately because the syrian conflict has gone on so long it has required us to reduce the benefit inside syria which means the basket of food we're providing is 30% smaller today than this time last year, and the support we're providing financially, because outside syria it's not about the availability of food, it's access to food, so we provide a cash voucher that allows the refugees to purchase food. the challenge is we have been forced to cut the vouch voucher by 15%. >> woodruff: because? because of lack of funding. >> woodruff: let me ask you about iraq. next door. the syrians have gone into iraq. iraq having its own crisis which grows worse by the day with the islamic state group. how is the world food program dealing with it and are you able to deep up with the situation there? >> inside iraq, we support
1.5 million displaced parties as a result of the ongoing conflict in iraq. last year saudi arabia provided $500 million contribution to the entire international community, which part of that was food for the entire year. that pot has run dry, unfortunately, and we're now in a situation where we are significantly underfunded in iraq at a time when we just saw 90,000 people leave ramadi with the bombing campaigns and anbar province. we are trying to reach approximately $6,000 of the 90,000 with just the basic ability to feed themselves while they move and try to find safety. >> woodruff: finally, individuals who are watching, is there anything they can do? >> go to www.wfp.org and help us, contribute, provide your support, provide your voice to your governments to ensure that
it continue to provide the support that is necessary so people don't forget the victims of the crisis around the world. >> woodruff: it's a very difficult story to listen to. earthrin cousin, executive director of the world food programme. thank you. >> thank you so much. >> ifill: the 2016 race for president moved into new hampshire over the weekend, as announced and unannounced candidates descended on the granite state, apparently just to say hi. joining us for our regular politics monday discussion tonight: karen tumulty of the "washington post" and tamara keith of npr. while they were saying hi while you were there, karen, there was a string especially of republican candidates, who came through town. who made the biggest impact? >> these guys and one woman didn't disagree with each other on anything, and the degree to which they were taking shots at
each other, they were very veiled, very indirect. so by the end of the weekend where there were 17 candidates that i counted, it really was, i think, just pretty much of a blur for this room full of 600 activists and party leaders in new hampshire. >> ifill: tam remarks let's remind people why everyone goes to new hampshire for this first in the nation summit and everyone is lining up support. >> yes, this big event, this cattle call event is not very new hampshire actually. the real new hampshire is going into people's living rooms diners and coffee shops and they did those events around the periphery of this cattle call. when there are 17, 19 of them, it's really hard to stand out when you each get 30 minutes of a cattle call. new hampshire voters love this. new hampshire republicans love this contrast where they can amazing
competition we're having and we're not going to make up our minds we're going to wait it out and compare that to the democrats where there's a coronation. they love that. >> ifill: scott walker today we hear he may have the inside track in what we call the koch primary. one to have vents today, koch said i don't want tell you who you should write a check to but it should be scott walker. >> people think of the republicans as the conservative the evangelical practice and scott walker seems to appeal to all these. the koch brothers' support today does not necessarily mean this gigantic organization of theirs is going to support him, but the interest in scott walker is so intense that at that event there
was a wedding going on in another ballroom in new hampshire in that hotel. the bride and groom left their own wedding reception to come over and meet scott walker and pose for pictures. >> ifill: only in new hampshire, perhaps. (laughter) let's talk about jeb bush. >> he was asked in new hampshire whether he was on his way to a coronation or whether he felt like he was the establishment guy who had all the money. he said, well, you know, if i have this all sewn up, why are all these other people here? i think new hampshire is very important for him in part because he is trying to lower expectations about iowa. new hampshire is sort of critical to his path to the nomination. so he was there trying to stand out amongst all these other people who are also there. >> ifill: marco rubio, the newest person in the republican
race, what was he doing there? >> he was very well received and very attractive, but in the outside chatter i heard a number of republican activists say, you know, he looks awfully young. >> ifill: he's 43. and by the way not the youngest, but slightly older than bobby jindal, the governor of louisiana. the thought is maybe this wasn't his year but potential there could be an opening for marco rubio. >> ifill: rand paul had a bit of a path carved by his father when he ran. >> he's also trying to navigate the challenging waters of running towards and away from dad, where do i stand. i think he's figuring that out. that will probably be a long journey. >> ifill: fun to watch. let's talk about hillary clinton. she is making her first trip to new hampshire today. the one interesting thing about
what the republicans were doing this weekend, they talked about common core, iran and substance and hillary clinton. >> they did. you got a sense they were sort of auditioning their attack lines and the attack lines essentially went in two directions -- one, that maybe she's running as a history-making first woman president but, guess what, she would also be a third term for barack obama. this is same old same old. the second thing is there were a lot of lines kind of locking the rough spots of her lots of jokes at chipotle, lots of talk about benghazi. but you did get a sense that the republicans understand that running against a woman is a little bit of a different endeavor, so they have to be tough enough to rev up their base but not looking like they are piling on her in a way that is going to offend centrist voters and women who see this as
sexest. >> ifill: the interesting response this afternoon from hillary clinton who decided to talk to reporters knowing there would be questions about these questions and her response was i don't know what they would talk about if i weren't in the race. >> ifill: sort of the haters will hate to quote taylor swift. >> ifill: never do that again. sorry. >> ifill: that's okay. (laughter) >> during these events, new hampshire and iowa, she has been very controlled, limiting the size of the press corps limiting who's in, trying to keep the audience small, trying to make conversation. she hasn't answered many questions. there have been quite a few questions shouted at her but not many answers this time she wanted to answer >> ifill: in iowa, how was it? there's a certain level of absurdity in chasing after the highest profile candidate in the race who's trying to be low
profile. how did that roll out? >> it was fascinating. there were decoy locations for reporters in the press pool. we were given a decoy location and another location and told to move to that location. the people selected to sit with her and have the conversations the democratic activists whom she was trying to woo and listen to they also were given decoy locations and had to hand over their cell phones before they moved to the actual location all to try to avoid some sort of mob scene of people right get to her >> ifill: how much are you looking forward to the decoy locations? >> what i am sensing especially on the republican side is people feel there are so many choices out there why make up your mind now? let's let the process play out >> ifill: i'm up for that. thank you both very much >> thank you.
>> woodruff: no matter how you measure the numbers, it was the biggest oil spill in american history. a gusher triggered by a catastrophic blowout of a well deep in the sea, and the deadly explosion aboard a drilling rig. five years later, how is the gulf coast doing? let's get into that, but first a reminder of that moment. april 20, 2010. the darkened skies of the gulf of mexico lit up as the "deepwater horizon" oil rig exploded into a fireball. b.p.'s macondo oil well had blown out, killing 11 workers, and sending a torrent of oil gushing from the sea floor. multiple attempts to seal the leak failed, when it was finally capped, 87 days late, the government estimated more than 170 million gallons had spilled. a federal judge later put it at 134 million gallons.
thousands of birds, turtles, and other animals died as the sheen coated the gulf shoreline marshes and barrier islands. today the beaches and waters of the gulf look clean again... >> if you didn't know there was a spill, and you went out there today, you'd never know there was even a problem. >> woodruff: many fisheries have rebounded, but scientists say millions of gallons of petroleum, dispersants and other chemicals may have settled on the sea floor, threatening deep sea corals and bottom-dwelling fish. and, tar balls still wash ashore... >> you're seeing this cycle of exposure and reburial of remnants of the spill, and that's going to go on for a long time. >> woodruff: in addition, dolphin strandings and deaths tripled after the spill. endangered kemp's ridley sea turtle nests dropped to levels not seen in a decade.
and oyster populations in southeastern louisiana plummeted. b.p. maintains the drops are not related to the macondo oil itself and that wildlife populations are back to pre- spill levels. on the economic front, the spill devastated livelihoods, shut down fisheries and coastal businesses. >> how you define what is eligible and ineligible is a formidable challenge. >> woodruff: kenneth feinberg was initially named administrator of an independent claims fund. he spoke with the newshour in 2010. >> it's one thing to compensate a shrimper who can't shrimp in the gulf because the shrimping is unavailable, that the government has closed off the shrimp grounds, or a oyster harvester, or a fisherman. it's another thing if a restaurant in boston says i can't get shrimp from the gulf and i'm losing revenue because i
can't serve a favorite dish. pay me. >> woodruff: b.p. has spent more than $28 billion since the spill began. half went toward response and clean-up measures. more than $5 billion has gone to pay compensation claims. in january, a federal judge in new orleans found the oil giant grossly negligent in the spill, which could leave it liable for up to $13.7 billion in penalties. meanwhile, the obama administration proposed new offshore drilling regulations last week. they're aimed at preventing equipment failures like the one that led to the "deepwater horizon" blowout. there are plenty of different opinions and findings about how well or poorly the gulf coast's waters, wildlife, businesses and people have recovered. we explore that now with two people from the region. mark schleifstein, the environment reporter at the "times-picayune," in new orleans, and john young
president of jefferson parish louisiana, a coastal district near the epicenter of the 2010 spill. we welcome you both to the program. john young, to you first, how are people in your area doing five years after? >> well, judy, we have a resilient population. weived through katrina, b.p. oil disaster, hurricane isaac and more in the past few years. people are coming back. there is still damage to assess. we're still getting tar mats on the island. we're still dealing with that. people are going about their daily lives and putting it behind. there's still a lot to be done. still holding b.p. accountable and there's still litigation that haas to occur and damages to be paid. >> woodruff: how would you say people's lives have changed?
>> certain people's lives have gone on but shrimpers and oystermen are still suffering. the seafood is presentful but not as predictable to where they catch it. they have to move to catch it. some restaurants on grand isle which is part of jefferson parish are. >> we haven't seen one cent of clean water funds from the restore act that's the manny we use to protect and restore our coast. so people are moving on with their lives but the last chapter hasn't been written and the jury is still out as to the ultimate cost in terms outnot only economic losses but also environmental damage. >> when it comes to the environmental impact, mark schleifstein, what do you see? that's what you focus on. what has been the main effect on the ecology of that area? >> well, there was some obvious damage that occurred in the
early days of the spill. you could see the oil just about everywhere along the louisiana coastline and it showed up on beaches along parts of alabama, mississippi and florida. today, a lot of that is not seen from day to day unless you see a bit of significant storm that ends up uncovering some of this oil that is still in the near shore right off the beaches under the sediment and when that happens, you get a situation like we had about a month ago when you had 25,000 pounds of this material that ended up on the beach and you had to clean it up. the problem is trying to figure out what all this means. a lot of the efforts that have been made public all really have to do with the civil court case and the fines, and that basically is how much damage did
b.p. do that you could measure over a certain number of years and you try to come up with a dollar amount for that and then come up with a plan for restoring the damage that was caused. in addition to that what the scientists are right do is to figure out what are the long-term effects. we know that there are some significant effects that we have seen in animals like the bottle-nosed doll dolphins in the bay, the smoking gun specifically saying that b.p. is the cause of the deaths of those dolphins, more than is thousand over several years, is a bit more dealt. >> woodruff: mark schleifstein, you mentioned the dolphins. what other sea life has been proven has been affected and damaged by this? >> well, again that's the problem is proving beyond a
doubt that the oil spill is the result of some of these things. what we have seen are indications that some of the nasty chemicals, the polychlorinated aeromatic carbons have shown up as far as way as the gulf of mexico even as far as falcons in rhode island. but what it is doing to the birds is hard to tell. this is a longer-term process. another key issue is a lot of this oil occurred right in the area where you had the blue fin to you nay laying eggs each year at literally the same time as the oil spill occurred. the blue fin tuna. the long-term effects would be something to take years to find out. >> woodruff: john young, president of jefferson parish the money b.p. has spent, is it visibly making a difference
whether from the environmental impact from what you can see, the ability of people to get past this? >> well, judy, for one thing people have been paid that were far removed from the spill and some people such as a shrimp processor on grand isle hasn't been paid. so claims are still pending. cat island is a good example. it was a lush place for water foul and now is an island that's washing away. there's still a lot of unaccounted oil probably on the seabed of the gulf. again, as mark said, i don't think the last chapter's been written. it's too early to say what the full impact is of what happened, and b.p. is going to have to be held accountable and they're going to have to continue to pay for damages they caused and make it right as they say in their
commercials, and make us whole. again, i don't think we can write the last chapter on this book yet. >> john young, picking up on that, are people feeling optimistic about the future coming out of this? or do they feel this is something that is going to continue to hurt the new orleans and gulf area for a long time to come? >> oh, no, we're optimistic. we're an optimistic people, judy. we're moving forward and going to turn the negative into the positive. we're producing the best-tasting seafood in the world. we produce 30 to 35% of the fish consumed in america and we still are in oil exploration inla because we produce 30, 35% of the oil and gas consumed in the united states and therefore we'll continue that production. we just want to make sure that what happened with the b.p. and the deep water horizon doesn't happen again. >> woodruff: john young,
president of jefferson parish louisiana. mark schleifstein with the "times-picayune," we thank you both. >> thank you judy. >> ifill: the united states senate spent five years investigating the c.i.a.'s secret interrogations of terrorism suspects releasing an exhaustive report on the agency's tactics in december of last year. the report detailed brutality, dishonesty and at times arbitrary violence by the c.i.a. despite those findings, only one c.i.a. contractor, an interrorgator serving in afghanistan, has been convicted in a torture case. now out of jail he has spoken for the first time in a short film produced by retro report, a non-profit news organization partnered with the new york times. >> reporter: david passaro is a free man today, and holds the distinction of being the only person working for the c.i.a. ever to be convicted of abusing a prisoner in the war on terror.
>> man, i wasn't hired to be nice to these terrorists. i was there to get a job done i was there to elicit the truth and keep moving. >> reporter: passaro's case started in 2003, when he was working as a contractor for the c.i.a. at a remote base in asadabad, afghanistan, and was tasked with interrogating abdul wali, a farmer who was suspected of being behind rocket fire at the base. >> i didn't want him sleeping anymore than two to three hours a night. one of the stress positions was something called the air chair, that's just hold his arms out until he decided he would change his demeanor. every time he would sit there, he would do this, and he would drop his arms to his elbows. well, that's not the air chair. and then i would tap his arms to tell him to get his arms back up, underneath. at one point he lurched out after me and i slapped him. it was just a quick response. my hands were right here, and it was just to get him off of me. is that assault? it could be construed as assault, but in the war on terror, and in afghanistan, in
asadabad, that's not assault. >> reporter: after three days of interrogation, wali collapsed. despite efforts to revive him, he died. no autopsy was performed. witnesses would later say that passaro hit wali repeatedly with a flashlight and kicked him in the groin. american, had initially accompanied him to the base. hyde akbar, an afgan. >> this was a man who had turned himself in voluntarily. it wasn't the traditional way that people kind of justify torture the, the ticking time bomb situation. this is not a situation like that. >> anything that i did to abdul wali, none of that constitutes torture. in hindsight, i wouldn't have done anything different. >> reporter: the c.i.a. opened an investigation, but passaro returned to a civilian position at the ft. bragg army base in north carolina. >> it was american soldiers serving as military police at abu gharib that took these pictures. >> reporter: a year later, after the abu ghraib prison scandal
broke, the justice department indicted passaro for assault. >> this morning, a grand jury in raleigh, north carolina has indicted a contractor working on behalf of the central intelligence agency for brutally assaulting an afghan detainee. >> reporter: passaro maintained that he and others on the frontline of the war on terror were given the implied authority to use force when necessary. >> after 9/11, president bush got on national television, and said, "not only are we going to go after the terrorists, but we're going to go after those that harbor the terrorists. and we will do so under any-or with any means necessary." in other words, all the rules and regulations no longer applied. >> reporter: but witnesses testified that passaro was explosive, and acting far outside of c.i.a. rules in his zeal to break wali down. and there was no conclusive evidence presented that wali was a terrorist at trial.
>> there's some blame to be placed on the u.s. military for allowing an individual like dave passaro to be in such a sensitive situation. and then, i think that of course, dave passaro for actually, you know, beating this man. >> a former c.i.a. contractor charged with abusing an afghan detainee was found guilty today of assault. >> reporter: after his conviction, the c.i.a. released a statement that read: "passaro's actions were unlawful, reprehensible, and neither authorized nor condoned by the agency." he served six years in prison. for some, the problem goes beyond a case like passaro's. former pentagon official alberto mora, one of the leading critics of torture, says that even authorized frontline interrogators were given mixed messages. >> one of the former c.i.a. directors was mike hayden, was quoted as saying, famously, that he wanted his people to have chalk on their cleats as they were proceeding in the war on terror. well, the problem with-with that analogy is that, if you have chalk on your cleats you've stepped out of bounds. >> reporter: former attorney
general alberto gonzales, who helped draft the legal justifications for enhanced interrogation, says the practice was meant to be done only in specific circumstances, by authorized interrogators. >> we looked at the statute which is you cannot intentionally inflict severe physical or mental pain or suffering. that's all the statute says. and, you know, all i can say is the, that the lawyers tried very hard to define for the operators what would be consistent with the statute passed by congress. >> ifill: the c.i.a. told the newshour today that the agency stopped using contractors to do interrogations when president obama ended the c.i.a.'s detention and interrogation program in january 2009. at least two other cases of detainee deaths in c.i.a. custody have been dropped, and the obama administration has pledged not to prosecute anyone for interrogations during the bush years if they adhered to guidelines. passaro's case may go down in history books as the first, and only, case in which a c.i.a. interrogator has been prosecuted
for abusing a prisoner. >> woodruff: finally tonight, a look at one of the canons in world literature, through the eyes of african artists. here's jeffrey brown with the story. >> brown: the assignment was to take one of the great artistic achievements of western culture- - dante's epic poem, the "divine comedy," and play with it, "translate it," re-imagine it through the work of 13 contemporary artists from africa. >> when you say dante" the divine comedy," everybody think he knows it even if few people have really read it. >> brown: curator simon njami has read and loved dante. but at a certain point he came to a realization. >> i was not in dante's book. it was supposed to be a universal book dealing with hell, purgatory and paradise and
i was not in the book. so i decided i would change it. i would update dante and make it more universal. >> brown: the results are now on display at the smithsonian museum of african art in washington, works that reflect ideas of heaven, purgatory, and hell. this set of arresting images was created by photographer aida muluneh, who spent part of her youth in canada and the u.s. before returning to her native ethiopia. here, she re-worked a very old tradition of body painting, to make some very new statements about contemporary life. >> it was really looking at how people wear masks in order to get ahead in life. you know and everything is concealed, you know and a lot of the messages that i put in here. it's really a conversation about spite and how i feel that that is hell. so you know it seems like everyone is running around you know to make money, to have power, you know to go to different places, but the real person is not what you see.
you know there's a lot of layers within that. >> there is a new generation that's coming up that where we're expressing ourselves that you know yes we're africans, but you know it doesn't mean that we have to always do the clicheé definition of what is considered african art. >> i happen to be an artist from africa but what is africa you know? >> brown: dimitri fagbohoun is another global citizen-artist. >> i'll say that i'm from benin. i didn't grew up in benin, i grew up in cameron so am i the fruit of that story. i've been in france for 20 years now and i feel french. am i french therefore? you know, so i'm all those stuff. >> brown: set in purgatory, fagbohoun created a kind of confessional, with a video inspired by a very universal experience-- the loss of a parent, in this case his father. >> what happened when you lose someone, what remains, the pain is what remain unspoken. so i had that feeling of things that i wish i have tell my
father and i wish that i'd heard from him and the best way to do it in was in a confessional form >> brown: hell, in this exhibition, is dark indeed. a menacing video by kenyan artist mwangi hutter plays on a loop. headless duelers, by the british-nigerian artist yinka shonibare are poised to do the unnecessary. a ship of heads, by jems robert koko bi of ivory coast, sits motionless, recalling the one used by dante and his guide, virgil, to cross the river styx. and light barely escapes a dome of darkness, created by egyptian artist moataz nasr. >> you could be up in heaven or you can be down in hell. so it's like, it can work both, both ways. >> brown: not a literal response to dante, nasr says, but a response to what he sees happening in egypt today. >> instead of searching for love, there's a lot of hate violent, killing all these things that we hear about all the time, which is really very strange and very real. i don't give solutions. i just make them see, look, like i magnify things, i make them bigger than usual so they see
it. so that's how i see that the role of the artist should be. >> brown: for curator simon njami, there's another goal here, beyond shaking up given notions of heaven, purgatory and hell, that goes to the idea of africa itself. >> people think they know africa but i don't know africa. i've been to all the countries in africa and i don't know africa. i don't know africa because there's no such a thing as africa. >> brown: wait a minute, there's no such thing as africa, you say? >> because africa is a contradiction. the only thing that is real is the shape of the continent. >> brown: what do you want people to take from this exhibition? >> i want them to take the notion of hell, purgatory and heaven and i want them, those who have some, to forget about any preconceptions they have on contemporary african art. definitions are terrible because there's always a counter definition. an experience is much more open. i want them to experience it and
to be surprised and maybe to reframe a couple of ideas of ideas they have before they enter the show. >> brown: many will have a chance to do just that, as the exhibition travels to museums around the world after wrapping here in november. at the smithsonian museum of african art in washington, i'm jeffrey brown for the pbs newshour. >> woodruff: on the newshour online, an organization working in afghanistan is trying to convert fields of poppies-- used in the illegal production of opium-- into fields of the purple flower that produces the exotic, and costly, spice saffron. the boston-based company works with farmers to get them to cultivate the delicacy. read how they're doing it, and find a recipe for rice pudding with saffron, on our home page. all that and more is on our web site, pbs.org/newshour. >> ifill: tune in later this evening. charlie rose talks with hillary clinton campaign chairman john
podesta on the 2016 elections and that's the newshour for tonight. on tuesday, the u.n. high commissioner for refugees on why the u.s. should open its doors to more syrians displaced by war. i'm gwen ifill. >> woodruff: and i'm judy woodruff. we'll see you on-line, and again here tomorrow evening. for all of us here at the pbs newshour, thank you and good night. >> major funding for the pbs newshour has been provided by: >> and by the alfred p. sloan foundation. supporting science, technology, and improved economic performance and financial literacy in the 21st century. >> and with the ongoing support of these institutions
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